Last year's last day keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Evans, told us that humans resist change, especially if this change was not their idea. He also said resistance to change is normal and necessary. I read his book, The Human Side of School Change, and wrote three more posts reflecting on what he said. Myriad factors come into play when people have to deal with change, and his book helped me become a better listener to those who resist changes in education.
This year, my own keynote message was to stop asking why others won't change, and empower yourself. Take the risks, live up to the title of "educator," and do what you believe is right and good for students. Share these ideas with others, and explain your reasons WHY. Keep sharing - through social media, blogging, websites, presentations... keep the conversations going.
When Ted Dintersmith took the same stage the next day, he said that it's easier to start a new school than to change one that's already established. He added that we should embrace the pockets of change and grow by one teacher at a time. Leave other teachers alone - administration can try to make them change, but they'll just close their doors and keep doing what they've always done. Wasted effort on our part. Let's put the effort into celebrating those who are doing what is better for kids. Oh, and try not to say "best practice," because what is "best" today won't necessarily be "best" tomorrow. We can practice "better practices" with students. 😉
I go over and over with my husband Bob about what each session is about, and the things I've learned and want to take home and hold dear to my heart and head.
During our discussion about all this, he asked, "Is this whole thing pointless?"
"This whole thing" - referring to trying to get other teachers to reflect on their teaching and try something new, such as letting the students own more of the learning.
No. It's not pointless.
Trying to get other teachers to reflect on what they're doing, join in with what you're trying, and help bring students more to the center of all we do... is challenging for sure. But if you share ideas with just one... and just one teacher latches on and tries it and it changes his or her teaching, consider all the students you've affected. Mother Teresa said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, feed just one." I wouldn't say "just" one - because one can lead to another and another and the ideas can grow exponentially. (A few of the ideas I shared at BLC.)
I tweaked my keynote the evening prior, because I had to add this quote I'd heard from Darren Kuropatwa at his session - "The job of any leader is to make more leaders."
So take the lead. Share your ideas - through social media, blogging, websites, presentations... Share your reasons WHY. And feed ONE teacher. One at a time. Keep those conversations going!
|Outside our house in the spring of 2017...